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Cappuccino listening

Recently on a call with colleagues discussing "What is coaching?" we talked about the power of listening especially listening at multiple levels. I used the metaphor of cappuccino listening which I thought I'd share here.

Cappuccino is made of foam, milk and espresso and the best baristas can make those three elements seemingly float one atop the other.

When coaching a client I find that metaphor helps me listen at three distinct levels..

Listening on the surface, facts and information are the foam. They are on top - the most visible and easiest to spot.

Next is the milk, below the surface, harder to see. Below the surface in the coaching conversation are the judgements and assumptions the client is making.

And right at the bottom of the cup, the espresso, or in this metaphor, the clients values and beliefs

So next time you're listening. Stop for a moment - which level are you listening at?

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